FORT WORTH — In the 35 years they've been married, Harrel and JoAnn Taylor have been through a lot together, but they weren’t prepared for a surprise this week.
"Never should have happened. No," Harrel said in the living room of his Fort Worth home.
When his wife showed up for chemotherapy treatment this week, Taylor learned that Lockheed Martin had dropped them from the company's insurance rolls.
"You just want to sit down and cry," JoAnn said. "In fact, I did shed a few tears. You're thinking, 'Oh my gosh, if they don't pay this, what am I going to do? Drop out of my treatment?'"
The company is in a battle with union members over health and pension benefits. Workers on strike were stricken from the company's insurance plan.
But Harrel Taylor has been on medical leave and not on strike, so he was supposed to keep his insurance, which also covers his wife's cancer treatment.
Lockheed has acknowledged what happened and released this statement:
“Lockheed Martin is aware of the situation, which occurred because the employee's absence information was not current in our company systems. We recognize that he was on leave, not on strike, and have taken action to reinstate insurance coverage as quickly as possible. It takes time for all the systems to process the information and become current. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused."
"They can cut if off so quickly — like the flip of a switch — but now it's taking three days to get it back on," Taylor said.
His wife's very difficult battle continues, while the fight for an labor agreement at Lockheed drags on.